By Ken Hegan for MSN

This is a HUGE week for Canadian air travel.

In the same 7-day span, Canada’s two biggest carriers, Air Canada and WestJet, are BOTH launching new airlines. On Monday July 1st (Canada Day), Air Canada unveils its discount rouge airline [yes, an airline so budget they can’t afford to capitalize the letter R].

Billed on its website as offering “stylishly affordable travel,” rouge offers sun-worshippers non-stop flights from Toronto and Montreal to the Caribbean, Central America, and Europe. Apparently rouge’s flight attendants will include Justin Timberlake:


Models show off the rouge uniforms            Photo: Kevin Van Paassen / CP Images

Sun-drenched rouge destinations include Cuba (Varadero, Santa Clara, Cayo Coco, Holguin), Jamaica (Kingston), Costa Rica (Liberia and San Jose), the Dominican Republic, (Puerto Plata, Samana, Punta Cana), Edinburgh [well, it’s bound to get some sunshine], Athens, and Venice.

With the exception of Montreal to Athens, all outbound rouge flights will depart from Toronto’s Pearson airport. Oh, and rouge’s flight attendants must pay $49 a month for Disney to teach them customer service.

Meanwhile, on Monday this week WestJet launched WestJet Encore, its new regional Canadian service. Check out the fashionable brown blazers as passengers board the inaugural flight below.


Passengers board the first Encore flight             Photo: Larry MacDougal / CP Images

Encore’s competing with Air Canada’s regional flights by flying Bombardier turboprop planes into smaller destination airports. Encore will service Fort St. John, Edmonton, Grande Prairie, Calgary, Nanaimo, Vancouver, Victoria, Saskatoon, Regina, and (starting September 3rd) to/from little lovely Brandon, Manitoba.

No idea why they called it Encore. But it’s possible WestJet expects you to be so thrilled with your flight, you’ll applaud the landing, whistle for more, and shout for the pilot to lift off again and take you right back home.

WestJet Encore president Ferio Pugliese told the Calgary Herald that he’s hired over 100 flight attendants, pilots, and crew. In the next five years, he expects Encore to employ nearly 1,800 people, operate 45 planes, and fly coast to coast across Canada. If this pace keeps up, Encore will eventually fly all of us, everywhere, every minute of the day, and nobody will get much work done.

Click here for more information on Encore’s schedules and rates.

Click here for rouge’s schedule and rates, or to check out their ecstatic-looking passengers.

— Ken Hegan


Read more of Ken’s travel stories here

Twitter: @KenHegan